Background and Aims A targeted enrichment NGS approach was used to construct the phylogeny of Amomum Roxb. (Zingiberaceae). Phylogenies based on hundreds of nuclear genes, the whole plastome and the rDNA cistron were compared with an ITS-based phylogeny. Trends in genome size (GS) evolution were examined, chromosomes were counted and the geographical distribution of phylogenetic lineages was evaluated. Methods In total, 92 accessions of 54 species were analysed. ITS was obtained for 79 accessions, 37 accessions were processed with Hyb-Seq and sequences from 449 nuclear genes, the whole cpDNA, and the rDNA cistron were analysed using concatenation, coalescence and supertree approaches. The evolution of absolute GS was analysed in a phylogenetic and geographical context. The chromosome numbers of 12 accessions were counted. Key Results Four groups were recognised in all datasets though their mutual relationships differ among datasets. While group A (A. subulatum and A. petaloideum) is basal to the remaining groups in the nuclear gene phylogeny, in the cpDNA topology it is sister to group B (A. repoeense and related species) and, in the ITS topology, it is sister to group D (the Elettariopsis lineage). The former Elettariopsis makes a monophyletic group. There is an increasing trend in GS during evolution. The largest GS values were found in group D in two tetraploid taxa, A. cinnamomeum and A. aff. biphyllum (both 2n = 96 chromosomes). The rest varied in GS (2C = 3.54–8.78 pg) with a constant chromosome number 2n = 48. There is a weak connection between phylogeny, GS and geography in Amomum. Conclusions Amomum consists of four groups, and the former Elettariopsis is monophyletic. Species in this group have the largest GS. Two polyploids were found and GS greatly varied in the rest of Amomum.

Glioblastoma is the most common malignant cancer of the central nervous system (CNS) in adults. Glioblastoma cells show increased glucose consumption associated with poor prognosis. Since mitochondria play a crucial role in energy metabolism, mitochondrial mutations and mitochondrial DNA copy number changes may function as biomarkers. As the brain is difficult to access, analysis of mitochondria directly from the brain tissue represents a challenge for neuropathology. Exosome analysis is an alternative (still poorly explored) approach to investigate molecular changes in CNS tumors. Here we analyze characteristics of brain tissue DNA and plasma-derived exosomal DNA (exoDNA) of 44 glioblastoma patients and 40 control individuals. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed to determine mtDNA copy numbers and the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test were used for statistical analysis of data. Subsequently, sequencing libraries were prepared and sequenced on the MiSeq platform to identify mtDNA point mutations. Tissue mtDNA copy number was different among controls and patients in multiple comparisons. A similar tendency was detected in exosomes. Based on NGS analysis, several mtDNA point mutations showed slightly different frequencies between cases and controls, but the clinical relevance of these observations is difficult to assess and likely less than that of overall mtDNA copy number changes. Allele frequencies of variants were used to determine the level of heteroplasmy (found to be higher in exo-mtDNA of control individuals). Despite the suggested potential, the use of such a biomarker for the screening and/or diagnosis of glioblastomas is still limited, thus further study will be required.

Since the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, genome sequencing is essential to monitor viral mutations over time and by territory. This need for complete genetic information is further reinforced by the rapid spread of variants of concern. In this paper, we assess the ability of the hybridization technique, Capture-Seq, to detect the SARS-CoV-2 genome, either partially or in its integrity on patients samples. We studied 20 patient nasal swab samples broken down into five series of four samples of equivalent viral load from CT25 to CT36+ . For this, we tested 3 multi-virus panel as well as 2 SARS-CoV-2 only panels. The panels were chosen based on their specificity, global or specific, as well as their technological difference in the composition of the probes: ssRNA, ssDNA and dsDNA. The multi-virus panels are able to capture high-abundance targets but fail to capture the lowest-abundance targets, with a high percentage of off-target reads corresponding to the abundance of the host sequences. Both SARS-CoV-2-only panels were very effective, with high percentage of reads corresponding to the target. Overall, capture followed by sequencing is very effective for the study of SARS-CoV-2 in low-abundance patient samples and is suitable for samples with CT values up to 35.

Abstract Phylogenomic analysis of large genome-wide sequence data sets can resolve phylogenetic tree topologies for large species groups, help test the accuracy of and improve resolution for earlier multilocus studies and reveal the level of agreement or concordance within partitions of the genome for various tree topologies. Here we used a target-capture approach to sequence 1,088 single-copy exons for more than 200 labrid fishes together with more than 100 outgroup taxa to generate a new data-rich phylogeny for the family Labridae. Our time-calibrated phylogenetic analysis of exon-capture data pushes the root node age of the family Labridae back into the Cretaceous to about 79 Ma years ago. The monotypic Centrogenys vaigiensis, and the order Uranoscopiformes (stargazers) are identified as the sister lineages of Labridae. The phylogenetic relationships among major labrid subfamilies and within these clades were largely congruent with prior analyses of select mitochondrial and nuclear datasets. However, the position of the tribe Cirrhilabrini (fairy and flame wrasses) showed discordance, resolving either as the sister to a crown julidine clade or alternatively sister to a group formed by the labrines, cheilines and scarines. Exploration of this pattern using multiple approaches leads to slightly higher support for this latter hypothesis, highlighting the importance of genome-level data sets for resolving short internodes at key phylogenetic positions in large, economically important groups of coral reef fishes. More broadly, we demonstrate how accounting for sources of biological variability from incomplete lineage sorting and exploring systematic error at conflicting nodes can aid in evaluating alternative phylogenetic hypotheses.

Species- and genetic diversity can change in parallel, resulting in a species-genetic diversity correlation (SGDC) and raising the question if the same drivers influence both biological levels of diversity. The SGDC can be either positive or negative, depending on whether the species diversity and the genetic diversity of the measured species respond in the same or opposite way to drivers. Using a traditional species diversity approach together with ultra-conserved elements and high throughput sequencing, we evaluated the SGDCs in benthic macrofauna communities in the Baltic Sea, a geologically young brackish water sea characterised by its steep salinity gradient and low species richness. Assessing SGDCs from six focal marine invertebrate species from different taxonomic groups and with differing life histories and ecological functions on both a spatial and temporal scale gives a more comprehensive insight into the community dynamics of this young ecosystem and the extrinsic factors that might drive the SGDCs.

Bottom-up approaches in creating artificial cells that can mimic natural cells have significant implications for both basic research and translational application. Among various artificial cell models, liposome is one of the most sophisticated systems. By encapsulating proteins and associated biomolecules, they can functionally reconstitute foundational features of biological cells, such as the ability to divide, communicate, and undergo shape deformation. Yet constructing liposome artificial cells from the genetic level, which is central to generate self-sustained systems remains highly challenging. Indeed, many studies have successfully established the expression of gene-coded proteins inside liposomes. Further, recent endeavors to build a direct integration of gene-expressed proteins for reconstituting molecular functions and phenotypes in liposomes have also significantly increased. Thus, this review presents the development of liposome-based artificial cells to demonstrate the process of gene-expressed proteins and their reconstitution to perform desired molecular and cell-like functions. The molecular and cellular phenotypes discussed here include the self-production of membrane phospholipids, division, shape deformation, self-DNA/RNA replication, fusion, and intercellular communication. Together, this review gives a comprehensive overview of gene-expressing liposomes that can stimulate further research of this technology and achieve artificial cells with superior properties in the future.

A novel hantavirus, named Kiwira virus, was molecularly detected in six Angolan free-tailed bats (Mops condylurus, family Molossidae) captured in Tanzania and in one free-tailed bat in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hantavirus RNA was found in different organs, with the highest loads in the spleen. Nucleotide sequences of large parts of the genomic S and L segments were determined by in-solution hybridisation capture and high throughput sequencing. Phylogenetic analyses placed Kiwira virus into the genus Mobatvirus of the family Hantaviridae, with the bat-infecting Quezon virus and Robina virus as closest relatives. The detection of several infected individuals in two African countries, including animals with systemic hantavirus infection, provides evidence of active replication and a stable circulation of Kiwira virus in M. condylurus bats and points to this species as a natural host. Since the M. condylurus home range covers large regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the species is known to roost inside and around human dwellings, a potential spillover of the Kiwira virus to humans must be considered.

DNA from rootless hair shaft is fragmented and in low abundance. We have developed methods using capture hybridization and massively parallel sequencing to generate nuclear genotype profiles from hair. Using a panel targeting 215 SNP loci highly informative for ancestry and identity, our results elicited a probability of inclusion of approximately one in greater than 9.6E+39. This shows the potential of this approach to obtain nuclear genotype information from hair shaft DNA.

Infectious diseases are among the strongest selective pressures driving human evolution1,2. This includes the single greatest mortality event in recorded history, the first outbreak of the second pandemic of plague, commonly called the Black Death, which was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis3. This pandemic devastated Afro-Eurasia, killing up to 30–50% of the population4. To identify loci that may have been under selection during the Black Death, we characterized genetic variation around immune-related genes from 206 ancient DNA extracts, stemming from two different European populations before, during and after the Black Death. Immune loci are strongly enriched for highly differentiated sites relative to a set of non-immune loci, suggesting positive selection. We identify 245 variants that are highly differentiated within the London dataset, four of which were replicated in an independent cohort from Denmark, and represent the strongest candidates for positive selection. The selected allele for one of these variants, rs2549794, is associated with the production of a full-length (versus truncated) ERAP2 transcript, variation in cytokine response to Y. pestis and increased ability to control intracellular Y. pestis in macrophages. Finally, we show that protective variants overlap with alleles that are today associated with increased susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, providing empirical evidence for the role played by past pandemics in shaping present-day susceptibility to disease.